Aboriginal literacy: bridging the distance to learning
The Sioux Hudson Literacy Council is making groundbreaking strides to reach adult Aboriginal learners who reside in remote, isolated communities of Northwestern Ontario, Canada. This literacy organization services learners within the community and surrounding area. The 35 communities, which have a total population of approximately 35,000 people, are often only accessible by plane in the summer months and ice roads during the winter. The Aboriginal community members have not had the privilege of strong, structured educational backgrounds and have not had the opportunity to improve their existing literacy and employability skills. There are currently programs in these communities offered to high school and college students via video- and audio-conferencing. It appears however, that individuals who would benefit the most, the people who need assistance to attain the literacy levels required to achieve success at the high school and college levels are those who have had few educational opportunities. Over the last three years, the Sioux Hudson Literacy Council has been offering solutions for the literacy learner at a distance. We have created a unique website with direct links to synchronous online classrooms and offers a solution to the growing number of Indigenous learners who have little or no education.(Website:www.siouxhudsonliteracy.com)
Our journey continues and we have discovered many challenges and issues surrounding the obtaining and retaining of both online learners in Northwestern Ontario. This presentation will deliver some research findings, insights and experiences from our progressive work to reach Aboriginal distance learners in the remote, isolate communities of Ontario Canada's North.